Recent Posts:

Energy efficiency: Where angels will shine

Rob Day: August 1, 2010, 7:49 PM

As you pull into the parking lot, the grit of crumbling asphalt crunches under your tires. No shade trees or white curbs in this parking lot, just lines on tarmac, narrow spaces, and an unfiltered summer sun.  You get out of your car and look up at the tall, nondescript brick building, and head toward the effectively unmarked entrance, a metal door that makes you remember public schools from years ago.  A train rattles by on an elevated track directly behind the building, picking up speed as it carries its daily delivery of bankers and lawyers downtown. A few other people amble into and out of the building, but it's far from busy.  This isn't one of the newer generation buildings with...

What climate bill?

Rob Day: July 22, 2010, 3:22 PM

It's 2nd down and about 10 yards to go, and Harry Reid decided he might as well punt.

With today's news that any upcoming energy bill won't include climate legislation or even a renewable portfolio standard, cleantech entrepreneurs and investors are left scratching their heads.  Yet more uncertainty.

I continue to see pitches from companies with smart, low-cost approaches to carbon emissions, but lacking more of a certain price and market for carbon credits, they're having a really hard time raising capital.  Ditto for anything related to carbon capture and storage.  And in many other areas of cleantech, the lack of certainty around energy and carbon pricing is a killer.  I'm even...

What’s EnerNOC up to?

Rob Day: July 16, 2010, 10:19 PM

That's, increasingly, the question all smart grid companies need to be asking themselves.

I had the opportunity to visit with Tim Healy at EnerNOC last week, toured their demo center, had a fun lunch talking shop.  As longtime readers might be able to guess, I am pretty keen on the energy efficiency industry as an investment area.  What they might not know is that I missed out on investing in EnerNOC years ago as part of a Series B round -- the company had approached my firm for an investment, but then Foundation Capital invested quickly and at a price we wouldn't match, so we missed out.  And it ended up being a very good investment for Foundation... So it's always been one of "the...

VC fund fundraising remains depressed

Rob Day: July 8, 2010, 11:09 AM

Just a really quick follow-up on my last post regarding cleantech venture investments... Entrepreneurs need to realize that this is unlikely to change very soon.  Why? Because VCs themselves are still finding it hard to raise new funds.

Dow Jones put out their tally of VC fundraising in 1H10 today, and the headline was "US Venture Fund-Raising Up 13%".  I've seen people talking about how that's great news.  Not really.  Simply look at the very first data slide in their presentation and you'll see what I mean.  The totals are up compared to 1H09 because 1H09 was awful.  The dollar amounts remain way down from previous years, however.  

I said a while back that my guess was 2010...

Cleantech venture capital remains tepid, not hot

Rob Day: July 7, 2010, 8:42 AM

To judge from the headline of the Cleantech Group's Q2 numbers, "Global Clean Technology Venture Investment Increases 65 Percent in 1H 2010", you might think that cleantech venture capital is white hot right now.

It's certainly not as bad as it was in 1H09.  But there are signs in the CG numbers that things remain fairly tepid.  As the press release describes, the number of deals actually went down from Q1 to Q2 (from 192 to 140), for example.

But this is why we ignore headlines, and even dollar totals, and dig into the details, right?

So what are the trends of interest within the broader mediocre activity level in the sector.  First of all, much of the decline in deal count (which,...

Nikola would be proud

Rob Day: June 29, 2010, 8:37 PM

Tesla went out to IPO today quite successfully.  I was very glad to see the offering do well, at least on the first day. I've seen complaints about it going out too early (as yet unprofitable, and mass market car not due until 2011), but it does seem from the outside like a relatively well-run company with a compelling story. Low risk? Absolutely not. But I'm hoping they do well. Especially because this sector needs more success stories.  LPs have been waiting very, very patiently for more big visible stories like First Solar... will Tesla prove to be one of them?  Time, and stock market investor patience, will tell... 

I reiterate my long-standing tongue in cheek offer:  If the...